, RIO DE JANEIRO, July 30 – A three year old girl drowned and at least seven people were injured Tuesday as a major water main ruptured, destroying several homes in western Rio, authorities said.
The victim in the city’s Campo Grande district was identified as Isabela Severo dos Santos.
“Eight people were hospitalized and the child died,” a Civil Defense spokeswoman told AFP.
“We tried to revive her while she was being rushed to hospital,” Colonel Sergio Simoes, a fire department chief, told Globo News television.
Television pictures showed cars, garbage containers and some rickety homes being swept away in a torrent of water cascading from the broken pipe. A mountain of trash piled up down the main street.
Several homes were flooded as water reached nearly seven feet in many streets.
“Our job was to get people out of their homes as flooding spread. We are working with Civil Defense engineers to assess the damage,” Simoes said.
Agilson da Silva Serpa, who survived with only a knee injury, said: “I was asleep and woke up when I heard a clattering sound on the roof. Then the walls started collapsing.”
“We were on the second floor and the water was so powerful that it hurled us to the other side of the street. We landed outside our neighbor´s house,” he added.
Juliana Lemos meanwhile said her house was destroyed but her family is safe.
“My children are fine. They were asleep, and I made it with only a foot injury,” she told Globo News before boarding an ambulance.
The municipal water utility Cedae confirmed that a big pipe ruptured but the cause of the accident was not yet known.
Power and water in the area were cut off.
Firefighters used inflatable boats to rescue stranded residents while several ambulances rushed the injured to hospitals.